The Muslim worshippers had congregated for Friday prayers, Islam's holy day of the week. One of the shooters wrote in a manifesto that he'd carried out the attack to "directly reduce immigration rates to European lands".
The suspect, who reportedly identified himself a 28-year-old Australian man named Brenton Tarrant, said on a chilling livestream of the massacre, "Remember lads, subscribe to Pewdiepie", in reference to the hugely popular, but controversial, YouTuber.
Police added that 45 additional officers were deployed to Christchurch from other districts, with another 80 being drafted in today.
Police in New Zealand said there were "multiple fatalities" following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch and said they had one suspect in custody. His Twitter and Facebook accounts have been taken down, but he published a lengthy manifesto shortly before the shooting, which sheds light on his beliefs and motives.
Nihad Awad, Executive Director of The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called on President Trump to speak out against the attacks and the white supremacist motive of the terrorists.
A total of 41 people were killed at a mosque on Deans Avenue, Ardern said, and seven were killed at a mosque on Lynwood Avenue.
He said his actions were also inspired by a 2017 trip to France, where he was disappointed with the state of the cities; he described what he saw as an "invasion of France by non-whites".